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Stewart Home's second novel (published 1991). Terry Blake, a lower-middle-class anti-fascist anti-racist skinhead, goes to an induction meeting for the government's Enterprise Allowance Scheme. In his opinion it's just another way for the government to give him a welfare payment--"the government would have happily underwritten the organization of paedophile rings if effective networking among kiddie sex enthusiasts brought about the tiniest reduction in the country's official level of unemployment." At the meeting he meets a scruffy hippy named Joyce who's actually an undercover agent for MI7 and who's working for Leninist personality Arthur Roberts--himself hand-in-glove with the cops and Brian Smith (führer of the patriotic aryan Cockney Nation sect), as they all have a vested interest (for different reasons) in fomenting racial unrest. While these conspirators are plotting riots, Terry meanders through London doing what enlightened lower-middle-class anti-fascists/racists do: catch trains, eating at caffs, visit secondhand record shops and markets, get the better of guilt-ridden ex-public-school boy liberals, bonk, and initiate others into his own brand of polymorphous perversity.

Defiant Pose might well be an example of the 'prole art threat', a phrase I used to see in a lot of articles written about The Fall but never found out what it meant. However, the mindset of Home's clued-up social warriors suggests that 'art' is a bourgeois concept employed as a weapon to dominate and oppress the working-class by the middle/upper-class scum-suckers, the same privileged wankers who self-consciously slum with the proles by day and slink away home to their Habitat-furnished homes by night to quaff expensive wines and listen to classical music on overpriced hi-fi systems while gloating over their valuable collections of etchings. Those art-embracing parasites could be said to belong to the same circle of hell as evil capitalist bosses who control the means of production and trample the workers into submission under the jackboot of low wages and rotten conditions. From this it is but a step to the thought that art--like nationalism, religion, discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or sexuality--is also just another means of distracting the downtrodden from the real issue: class war.

None of this comes up in the first chapter of the book, though: that's where Terry and Joyce take advantage of an interval in the EAS meeting to get hot and heavy in the ladies' lavatory while trading ideologies. It's merely the first taste of Home's potent mixture of politics generously dosed with sex, written in the style of the 1970s English pop-pulp paperbacks that were churned out practically at a moment's notice to exploit The Kids' fascination with transitory fads like glam, gangs, heavy metal, punk. Low on literary style, plot or characterization, high on sex and violence and the ephemeral trappings of the fad in question. In the case of Defiant Pose it's all about proletarian revolt and anarchy, and the result is very funny: serious as Home's themes are, he misses no opportunity in poking fun at almost every one of his large and varied cast of characters. You might find yourself crying with laughter while reading it.

Go to An extract from Defiant Pose

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